When it comes to golf, some say that we all have a shared disability, the fact that we are human and that golf demands something superhuman. Perhaps, that is why we are all then given handicaps. When you first come to golf as a beginner, you often feel less than able; and that in no way is meant as demeaning toward people with disabilities. In fact, experiences like this engender humility and understanding in those that have struggled through that phase as a ‘beginning golfer’. Learning something that is physically and mentally challenging, a skill that does not come naturally to most human beings, stretches our conception of what it means to be part of the human race.
Once you have passed through that humiliating initiation into the game of golf, and for some that can last anywhere between several months and a lifetime, you wish to help others when it is appropriate. For people with permanent and very real disabilities, golf is a challenging recreational pursuit. I have played with a one legged golfer, a one armed golfer, a virtually blind golfer and plenty of deaf golfers (I heard that, can you keep it down while I am putting). I have been amazed at how these people have overcome the limitations of their disabilities to proficiently play the game of golf. It has been an inspiration, those few times I have played with a disabled golfer; and I wish those shared experiences were more numerous.
Golf for People With A Disability
It is the gulf of separation between the disabled and the able-bodied members of our community that deprives me of those inspiring experiences; and often isolates disabled people within their own communities. Of course, I can do something about that, I can get out and track down the Disabled Golfers Association and get involved. What I really would like to happen, is that the barriers between able and disabled people are broken down and that we all begin to share in recreational pursuits among other things. Golf associations are making way within their charters for the inclusion of golfers with disabilities.
Disability services and activities are doing their best, I am sure, to bring these kinds of things about. Perhaps, we could all make a concerted effort as golfers to encourage those disabled people we know into the game. Making golf more welcoming generally is a good idea for the overall health of the game. I regularly play with golfers who are octogenarians, and that doesn’t mean that they have eight arms and legs, and I am amazed at the level of play in competition that they often produce. Golf is one of the few games that you can competitively play with people much older than yourself, people much younger than yourself and those of a different gender; it is a truly universal game. Including golfers with disabilities in that equation just makes golf and even better forum for humanity to interact and exchange experiences.